We live in a world that moves at a breakneck pace, with mind-boggling information and mind-numbing entertainment only milliseconds away at any given moment. (And now, the planet is actually, literally spinning faster to boot. Isn’t that fun?)
How do we slow down? How do we turn it off?
Well, most of us can’t.
In our quest to keep up with the chaos of the days, we’ve reprogrammed ourselves for speed — trading rest and relaxation for late-night doom-scrolling or near-constant productivity.
As a result, all areas of our lives are suffering.
Read on for the holistic sleep support protocol Dr. Neal — and the hundreds of people he’s helped in the last 20+ years — swear by. No hogwash, no sleep-tracking gizmos, no zombifying OTC meds, just good old wellness practices and B.S.-free supplement guidance.
In This Article:
- Myth-debunking common sleep trends
- Holistic strategies for falling asleep and staying asleep
- 5 wellness practices for sleep support
- Supplements for holistic sleep support
Mythbusting: What You DON’T Need For Better Sleep
While it might feel like night and day, the realm of sleep isn’t as black-and-white as it may seem.
Despite its undeniable importance, sleep only makes up 1/5th of the 5 lifestyle domains that make a healthy foundation for wellness.
The other four (diet, exercise, stress management, and lifestyle changes) are all impacted by and have an impact on sleep. Why? Because the human body is a complicated web of checks and balances, where nothing happens inside a vacuum.
So our distinctly American obsession with “the perfect night’s sleep” is, frankly, a little weird.
Holistic — or whole-body, whole-being, whole-picture — health is built through varied yet consistent wellness practices in all 5 of these foundational areas, not just sleep.
Because, regardless of what the clever marketing schemes might suggest, you can’t out-sleep a nutritionally bankrupt diet or sedentary lifestyle.
And, on the other side of the bed, a bad night’s sleep only really matters if it affects you.
Read that, and read it again. A bad night’s sleep only matters if it affects you, and no, one bad night doesn’t mean you need to make 6 payments of $49.99 for the latest trending sleep gadget.
“You get a bad night’s sleep but your day isn’t horrible. It’s not perfect, but it’s not horrible. You take the L, and try again tomorrow.”Dr. Neal Smoller
Life — and the light pollution, constant noise, endless stress, and health issues that come along with it — can be rough on our sleep. Plus, we now know how devastating the effects of sleep deprivation can be.
Put those two simple facts together, and you’ve got the perfect breeding ground for sky-high sleep sales. This is why the wellness industry pushes quick-fix tech and supplements that are often more hinder than help.
So, let’s be real. Here’s what you DON’T need for a better night’s sleep:
- Sleep tracking devices — in the form of phone apps, wearables, bluetooth lamps, etc.
- Trending supplements — like melatonin, tart cherry juice, the wrong forms of magnesium, etc.
Holistic Sleep Support Strategies You DO Need For Better Sleep
Now that we’ve chucked out the over-marketed, overhyped crap, we’re free to do the real work of improving sleep hygiene.
(Because yes, sleep hygiene is still important, but it’s not going to be something you achieve with just a pill or potion.)
There are a lot of factors working against you when it comes to getting better, deeper sleep. In fact, the list of reasons why your sleep sucks is as long as the insomniac hours of the night:
- Light/Noise Pollution
- Breathing Difficulties/Sleep Apnea
- Cramping/Twitching/Restless Leg Syndrome
- Bladder Issues
- Hormonal Imbalances
- Irregular Bedtime Patterns
But for all the myriad of ways sleep can suffer, the two core problems modern sleepers are faced with are: falling asleep and staying asleep.
(Or both, if you’re one of the super lucky ones.)
When it comes to falling asleep, we have the holy trinity of holistic sleep support to rely on — AKA, the 3 C’s.
1. Calm Mind
Turning your mind off at the end of the day is no small feat, but it is absolutely critical if you want to fall asleep. Not all relaxation or stress management techniques will work for you, but your first step is to find the ones that do.
2. Calm Body
Next step, stop putting stimulating things (caffeine, sugary foods, etc.) in your body around bedtime. Without a solid evening routine that signals to your body, “It’s time to sleep,” you’ll hit the pillow feeling wide awake.
Incorporate movement to work off excess energy as a body-calming bonus step.
3. Comfortable Environment
Because all the work you do on your body and mind will be negated if there’s a 65-inch plasma TV blaring two feet from your bed. Address environmental factors that can keep you stimulated and prevent wind-down time, like TVs and cell phones, excessive light and noise, or uncomfortable sleepwear and mattresses.
While most of us will struggle with falling asleep at some point or another, staying asleep is a whole different ballgame. Oftentimes, having a hard time staying asleep points to an underlying issue of some kind.
The most common issues Dr. Neal sees in his practice are:
- Sleep Apnea — Yes, even you could have breathing complications! Go straight to tier 3 of the Wellness Pyramid (do not collect $200), and seek professional, medical guidance.
- Cramping and Restless Legs — Increase your daily water intake (just not right before bed!) and try incorporating more exercise throughout the day.*
- Bladder Problems — Adjust your fluid intake before bed, and try to abstain from drinking any liquid at least three hours prior. Seek professional, medical guidance if you continue to wake to pee.
(*Restless legs syndrome will likely require strategic, personalized strategies.)
5 Wellness Practices for Holistic Sleep Support
Because, if you’ve been hanging around the Woodstock corner of the wellness world, you already know what we’re going to say.
Wellness practices first, supplements second. Always.
Whether you struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep, or just want to improve the quality of your sleep, Dr. Neal’s top 5 wellness practices can help you improve sleep hygiene before supplementation:
- Nourish yourself wisely: No heavy or spicy foods at least 3 hours before bedtime.
- Bid farewell to the bedroom TV: Reclaim your sleep sanctuary from binge-watching.
- Get hypoallergenic armor: AKA hypoallergenic pillow and mattress covers.
- Embrace darkness: Invest in a high-quality sleep mask to avoid stray light stimulation.
- Unplug: Limit your exposure to blue artificial light (from screens) before bedtime.
Supplements for Holistic Sleep Support
Yet, even with all the wellness practices under the sun, sometimes, we still need extra support for hitting the hay. We’re human!
When it comes to supplements for sleep, there are three key options that stand out from the crowd of drowsy-making gummies and overpriced herbal blends:
1. CBD for Sleep
This soothing THC-free cannabis derivative is worth the hype it gets. CBD, or cannabidiol, is renowned for its calming effects and sleep-support properties.
- It works ultra-fast – you can expect relief in about 15 minutes.
- The effects don’t linger, so your mornings aren’t groggy.
- BONUS it’s also great for anxiety!
While CBD is legal in (almost) all states, we are not allowed to sell this online. So, call us: (845) 521-7455.
2. Chelated Magnesium for Sleep
This mineral marvel plays a vital role in promoting relaxation and supporting healthy sleep — without it, your muscles literally cannot relax.
- Chelated forms of magnesium are easier on the stomach.
- Highly bioavailable form for maximum absorption.
- BONUS it’s been linked to rapid improvement of depression symptoms!
3. Valerian for Sleep
- Natural, plant-derived sedative.
- Short-acting for fewer morning-after issues.
- Nervine plant properties soothe and support the nervous system.
Plus, valerian is super cost-effective! Try valerian capsules for a wallet-friendly version of CBD.
Learn More: 3 Great Sleep Supplements — And 2 to Avoid
Get S’nore Sleep
TL;DR: Follow Dr. Neal‘s expert guidance to sleep better, dream bigger, and live healthier.
But… When it comes to holistic sleep support tips, tricks, and wellness practices, all that is still easier said than done. So give us a ring if the late-night zoomies have got you feeling like a zombie.
You can chat with one of our experts for free via Counterside Consult at any time. (As long as it’s before bedtime.)